The FAA has issued a brief flight restriction (TFR) over the areas hit by Hurricane Harvey. But the Red Cross unmanned plane response group, organized by skilled drone pictures firm PropellerHeadvertisements, is flying underneath an FAA COA in coordination with the Texas Air Operations Center and Unified Command to offer important overhead views of the catastrophe.
Kraettli Epperson, CEO of industry-leading flight security supplier Vigilant Aerospace, has joined the group with Vigilant’s FlightHorizon answer to offer air security companies for unmanned plane operations as flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey continues to devastate the world.
“In an emergency like this, it is great to have eyes overhead to help map out safe routes and work with ground crews in search-and-rescue efforts. We are glad to be able to provide services that help the disaster response crews in the face of this massive, natural disaster,” mentioned Epperson.
Epperson, an FAA-licensed Part 107 unmanned plane pilot, is presently in Houston working with the catastrophe response groups. He is working the situational consciousness and detect-and-avoid system for the drone flights. “The big advantage of the FlightHorizon approach in incident response is that it is highly portable, can be run on a laptop with a small antenna to cover a large operational area and can provide immediate situational awareness for most aircraft. Because it uses existing air traffic control protocols and infrastructure, it requires no coordination or authorization to provide instantaneous integration for unmanned aircraft into the airspace,” mentioned Epperson.
“FlightHorizon software uses data from standard aviation transponders and radar, when available, to provide a 2D map-based view and 3D synthetic cockpit view of national airspace and full sensor fusion across aviation transponders, radars and online data feeds,” says Vigilant. “The system is designed to help operators maintain flight safety, provide aircraft alerts and warnings, and provide specific collision avoidance commands, when necessary.”
The Red Cross unmanned plane response group is a welcome story for the drone , which rallied instantly to supply assist to hurricane response groups and victims. While some drone operators chafed at flight restrictions, hoping to assist response efforts by offering overhead photos, the FAA and the Texas Military Dept. have requested operators not particularly licensed to fly over the world to remain grounded.